A couple whose enormous new home was likened to a “spaceship” by furious neighbours revealed on television they went over budget while sleeping in a tent.
The duo told Extraordinary Extensions presenter Tinie Tempah they were left shocked after winning permission to overhaul a modest Sandgate bungalow into a ‘Miami Vice’ style home.
Before Channel 4’s show aired on Friday neighbours slammed the building for “looking like a spaceship”, with some calling it a “shed on steroids” and out of keeping with the surroundings.
But the pair, who are referred to as ‘Tracey’ and ‘Jeff’ on the prime-time show, told presenter and rapper Tinie Tempah how they were forced to sleep in a tent for months while the house currently remains unfinished.
Speaking from the property in Sunnyside Road, they told camera crews of their “many tears” while pouring wedding funds into their dream home.
At the start of the programme, they reveal how they have been engaged for more than three years but had to put the marriage on hold due to the financial situation.
Jeff says: “What I could instantly imagine is we could put another level on it.
“I could imagine having glass all the way across so we could have an unfettered view of the sea.
“We thought it was like a Miami Vice house and we would just put it in and see what [the planning department] says because they are not going to agree to it - but they did.”
Originally, a white 1960s bungalow previously occupied the site but planning permission was sought for a roof conversion in 2019.
The works included increasing the ridge height, a revised roof design and changes to the balcony.
Now, stone cladding also surrounds the ground floor walls and two horizontal metal strips run around the curved building.
There is also black timber on the first floor, large windows and a balcony with a curved glass balustrade.
An officer’s report by FHDC says the proposal is considered a “high-quality design”.
It also says it would “refresh a dated building in a manner which would not significantly detract from the surrounding prevailing pattern of development”.
“It is noted that contemporary designs similar to that proposed would not normally be supported within such proximity to the conservation area and such a prominent plot,” the report adds.
Jeff and Tracey reveal they have been forced to sleep in a tent on their lawn after plans for a static caravan fell through when work first began.
“There have been so many tears,” Tracey says, with her partner adding: “From a commitment level, we have been going to the gym for almost a year to have a shower.”
The couple originally set themselves a £200,000 budget to complete the major revamp of the bungalow.
But as the episode progresses, their money woes become clear.
“We have a contingency and we are probably going to go into that,” Jeff tells Tinie.
“These things always cost more than you expect.
“As far as how we have been doing, it is a challenge.
“We have both found our capacity for coping is less than what it was before the build.
“We can be a little tetchy with each other and there is some colourful language at times, but we love each other at the end which is the main thing.”
As Tinie returns towards the end of the programme, the house is not finished.
But he says: “There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the bottom but the top is looking killer.
“The curves are looking incredible. It is giving me those Miami Vice vibes.”
Jeff reveals it could take up to £75,000 to complete it, but they do not have the funds to finish it yet.
And they also reveal they went almost £100,000 over their budget.
Tracey explains: “We did know it was an unrealistic budget and we knew we were shooting for the stars.
“But I think it was a bit of naivety - definitely on my part - doing it for the first time.
“There have been times when I just sat and cried, and thought ‘Oh my God, we are insane. Why are we doing this?’
“You just want to walk away but then you take a breath and soak up the view.
“There is a part of us that is embarrassed to as we did not get it done but if you do not give it a try, how will you ever know?”
Extraordinary Extensions aired on Channel 4 on Friday at 8pm and is available on catchup.
Last year, Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) formally apologised to those complaining about the scale of the new property, called Heatherbank, after an admin blunder left them in the dark about building plans.
Some neighbouring the large modern building say they learned about the development only after speaking to workers on the construction site in June 2022.
Following a string of complaints to FHDC it emerged an admin error meant letters were not sent out informing residents of proposed changes.
And while a single planning notice was displayed in Sunnyside Road, those who overlook the home in nearby streets were not made aware of the application, residents say.
It reportedly led to the plans being green-lit with little opposition due to many residents being unaware of them, according to neighbours.